1960 Indianapolis 500

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44th Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis 500
Sanctioning bodyAAA / World Championship
DateMay 30, 1960
WinnerJim Rathmann
Winning EntrantKen-Paul
Average speed138.767 mph (223.324 km/h)
Pole positionEddie Sachs
Pole speed146.592 mph (235.917 km/h)
Most laps ledJim Rathmann (100)
Pace carOldsmobile
Pace car driverSam Hanks
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44th Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis 500
Sanctioning bodyAAA / World Championship
DateMay 30, 1960
WinnerJim Rathmann
Winning EntrantKen-Paul
Average speed138.767 mph (223.324 km/h)
Pole positionEddie Sachs
Pole speed146.592 mph (235.917 km/h)
Most laps ledJim Rathmann (100)
Pace carOldsmobile
Pace car driverSam Hanks
United States  1960 Indianapolis 500
Race details
Race 3 of 10 in the 1960 Formula One season
Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Speedway.svg
Date30 May 1960
Official name44th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes
LocationIndianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis
CoursePermanent racing facility
4.023 km (2.500 mi)
Distance200 laps, 804.675 km (500.000 mi)
Pole position
DriverUnited States Eddie SachsEwing-Offenhauser
Time146.592 mph (235.917 km/h)
Fastest lap
DriverUnited States Jim RathmannWatson-Offenhauser
FirstUnited States Jim RathmannWatson-Offenhauser
SecondUnited States Roger WardWatson-Offenhauser
ThirdUnited States Paul GoldsmithEpperly-Offenhauser

The 44th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday, May 30, 1960. The event was part of the 1960 USAC National Championship Trail, and was included in the 1960 World Drivers Championship. It would be the final time World Championship points would be awarded at the Indy 500.

Often regarded as the greatest two-man duel in Indianapolis 500 history, the 1960 race saw a then-record 29 lead changes (a record that stood until 2012). Jim Rathmann and Rodger Ward battled out nearly the entire second half. Rathmann took the lead for good on lap 197 after Ward was forced to slow down with a worn out tire.[1] Rathmann's margin of victory of 12.75 seconds was the second-closest finish in Indy history at the time.

Time trials[edit]

Time trials was scheduled for four days, but the third day was rained out.

After Carburetion tests, Dempsey Wilson replaced Jimmy Daywalt as the driver for the #23 entry, and the car was moved to the rear of the starting grid.[3]

Race recap[edit]

The race started out with four contenders in the first half. Rodger Ward takes the lead on lap 1 from the outside of the front row, but polesitter Eddie Sachs takes the lead on lap 2. Two laps later, Ward is back in the lead, and the record-setting number of lead changes is already under way. Troy Ruttman and Jim Rathmann also battle for the lead.

The first caution came out on lap 47, after Duane Carter spun in turn 3. He did not hit the wall, came to a rest in the infield grass, then continued in the race. Later, Jim McWithey came into the pits without any brakes. He brushed the inside pit wall trying to slow the car down, but continued through the pit lane and wasn't able to stop until he reached the infield grass in turn 1. Later in the race, Eddie Russo and Wayne Weiler also suffer single-car crashes.

Rodger Ward stalled his engine twice during his first pit stop, losing considerable ground. After getting back on the track, he started charging to catch up to the front of the field.[4] Shortly after the halfway point, Eddie Sachs and Troy Ruttman would both drop out of the race, ultimately leaving Rathmann and Ward to battle it out in front.

On about lap 124, Tony Bettenhausen came in for a routine pit stop. He complains of a smoking engine, but returns to the track. One lap later, he was back in the pits with a fire and a blown engine. Bettenhausen was unhurt, but hoisted himself out of the cockpit as it was coasting to stop in the pits to avoid getting burned.

In the second half, Ward had caught up to Rathmann, with Johnny Thomson close behind in third. Rathmann and Ward swapped the lead several times, but meanwhile Ward was hoping that the pace would slow down, in order to save his tires to the end. After stalling in the pits earlier, the hard charge Ward made to get back to the front was a concern, as he was afraid he had worn out his tires prematurely. Ward was aware of Rathmann's tendencies as a driver, and allowed him to pass him for the lead, knowing that Rathmann would frequently charge hard to take the lead, but once he was in the lead, would often back the pace down.[4] Ward's prediction came true, but it was at the expense of losing ground to third place. Johnny Thomson was now catching up.

With Thomson closing in on the leaders, Ward and Rathmann started charging again, racing each other hard, swapping the lead between themselves. Meanwhile Thomson's engine lost power, and he slowed to a 5th place finish. In side ten laps to go, Rodger Ward seemed to have the faster car, and took the lead on lap 194. A few laps later though, Ward saw the cords in his right front tire showing, and he let off the pace. Jim Rathmann took the lead on lap 197, and pulled away for victory. Due to Ward's experience in tire testing, he was able to nurse his car to the finish without pitting to change the tire, and held on to second place.[1] Despite winning twice (1959 and 1962), Rodger Ward often considered this race his personal best.[4]

Paul Goldsmith charged from 26th starting position to finish 3rd, holding off 4th place Don Branson by about a car length.


124United StatesJim RathmannWatson-Offenhauser146.3742001003:36:11.368
231United StatesRodger Ward (W)Watson-Offenhauser145.56520058+ 0:12.756
32699United StatesPaul GoldsmithEpperly-Offenhauser142.78272000+ 3:07.304
487United StatesDon BransonPhillips-Offenhauser144.75112000+ 3:07.983
5173United StatesJohnny ThomsonLesovsky-Offenhauser146.44320010+ 3:11.352
6722United StatesEddie JohnsonTrevis-Offenhauser145102000+ 4:10.611
71298United StatesLloyd Ruby (R)Watson-Offenhauser144.2152000+ 4:25.59 
82544United StatesBob VeithMeskowski-Offenhauser143.36232000+ 5:17.48 
92818United StatesBud Tingelstad (R)Trevis-Offenhauser142.35292000+ 8:19.91 
101438United StatesBob ChristieKurtis Kraft-Offenhauser143.63192000+ 8:40.28 
112227United StatesRed AmickEpperly-Offenhauser143.08262000+ 11:10.58 
122717United StatesDuane CarterKuzma-Offenhauser142.63282000+ 11:17.20 
133139United StatesBill HomeierKuzma-Offenhauser141.24322000+ 12:10.71 
142448United StatesGene HartleyKurtis Kraft-Offenhauser143.89161960+ 4 Laps 
15965United StatesChuck StevensonWatson-Offenhauser144.66121960+ 4 Laps 
162114United StatesBobby GrimMeskowski-Offenhauser143.15251940+ 6 Laps 
171926United StatesShorty TemplemanKurtis Kraft-Offenhauser143.85171910Clutch 
182356United StatesJim Hurtubise (R)Christensen-Offenhauser149.0511850Engine 
191010United StatesJimmy Bryan (W)Epperly-Offenhauser144.53131520Fuel System 
20628United StatesTroy Ruttman (W)Watson-Offenhauser145.36813411Axle 
2116United StatesEddie SachsEwing-Offenhauser146.59213221Magneto 
221173United StatesDon FreelandKurtis Kraft-Offenhauser144.35141290Magneto 
23182United StatesTony BettenhausenWatson-Offenhauser145.2191250Engine 
241532United StatesWayne Weiler (R)Epperly-Offenhauser143.51201030Accident 
25165United StatesA.J. FoytKurtis Kraft-Offenhauser143.4622900Clutch 
262946United StatesEddie RussoKurtis Kraft-Offenhauser142.230900Accident 
27138United StatesJohnny BoydEpperly-Offenhauser143.7718770Engine 
282037United StatesGene ForceKurtis Kraft-Offenhauser143.4721740Brakes 
293216United StatesJim McWitheyEpperly-Offenhauser140.3733600Brakes 
3059United StatesLen SuttonWatson-Offenhauser145.447470Engine 
31497United StatesDick RathmannWatson-Offenhauser145.546420Brakes 
323076United StatesAl HermanEwing-Offenhauser141.8331340Clutch 
333323United StatesDempsey WilsonKurtis Kraft-Offenhauser143.2124110Magneto 


Lap leaders[edit]

Race notes[edit]

Spectator fatalities[edit]

Two spectators in the infield, Fred H. Linder, 36, of Indianapolis, and William C. Craig, 37, of Zionsville, were killed, and as many as 82 were injured, when a homemade scaffolding collapsed. Approximately 125–130 patrons had paid a small fee ($5–$10) to view the race from the 30-foot tall scaffolding, erected by a private individual (Wilbur Shortridge, Jr.[9]) and not the Speedway – a practice that was allowed at the time. The structure was partially anchored to a pick-up truck, and situated in the infield of turn three. Over the years, the private scaffold platforms had become a popular fixture at the Speedway, with often many located around the massive infield. They were not sponsored by the track, and at times, the track management would attempt to curtail the practice, with safety in mind. However, enforcement was inconsistent, and they were not banned outright prior to 1960.

During the parade lap as the field drove by, the people on the platform began to lean and wave at the cars, which caused the scaffolding to become unstable. It soon tipped forward and fell to the ground, crushing people who were underneath the structure, and the 125–130 people who were on it either fell or jumped to the ground. Linder and Craig were pronounced dead of broken necks, and over 80 were injured, about 22 seriously.

After the accident, the Speedway banned "bootleg" homemade scaffolds at the track, a rule that still exists to this day. The track management was scrutinized by the state fire marshal and other officials for allowing the scaffolds to be constructed without permits, inspections, or any sort of safety rules. Other reports even criticized spectators who witnessed the tragedy and did little to offer help, whereas many in attendance were totally unaware of the accident. Johnny Rutherford, who was attending the race for the first time as a spectator, claims to have witnessed the accident.[10] In addition, his future wife Betty Hoyer, a student nurse, attended to the scene.[11]

Championship standings after the race[edit]



The race was carried live on the IMS Radio Network. Sid Collins served as chief announcer. Fred Agabashian served as "driver expert" for the second year. After the race, Luke Walton reported from victory lane.

For the first time, the network reached South Africa via tape-delay rebroadcasts.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network
Booth AnnouncersTurn ReportersPit/garage reporters

Chief Announcer: Sid Collins
Driver expert: Fred Agabashian
Statistician: Charlie Brockman

Turn 1: Bill Frosh
Turn 2: John Peterson
Backstretch: Bernie Herman
Turn 3: Lou Palmer
Turn 4: Jim Shelton

Greg Smith (north)
Jack Shapiro (center)
Luke Walton (south)



  1. ^ a b The Talk of Gasoline Alley1070-AM WIBC, May 21, 2007
  2. ^ Indy Record Probable
  3. ^ "The Talk of Gasoline Alley", WIBC, May 12, 2003
  4. ^ a b c The Talk of Gasoline Alley1070-AM WIBC, April 30, 2007
  5. ^ The Talk of Gasoline Alley1070-AM WIBC, May 14, 2004
  6. ^ "Weather information for the "1960 Indianapolis 500"". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  7. ^ "The Talk of Gasoline Alley," WIBC: May 20, 2005
  8. ^ "The Talk of Gasoline Alley," WFNI/Network Indiana: May 21, 2009
  9. ^ Grandstand Collapse at the 1960 Indianapolis 500
  10. ^ The Talk of Gasoline Alley. May 22, 2000. Network Indiana.
  11. ^ Cork, Bob (1974-06-09). "Rutherford's Wife Met Tragedy, Then Him, at Indy". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 

Works cited[edit]

Previous race:
1960 Monaco Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1960 season
Next race:
1960 Dutch Grand Prix
Previous race:
1959 Indianapolis 500
Rodger Ward
1960 Indianapolis 500
Jim Rathmann
Next race:
1961 Indianapolis 500
A. J. Foyt
Preceded by
135.875 mph
(1959 Indianapolis 500)
Record for the Indianapolis 500 fastest average speed
Succeeded by
139.130 mph
(1961 Indianapolis 500)